Monday, January 5, 2015

PEDs and Baseball's Hall of Fame - My Annual Defense of Bonds & Clemens

Barry Bonds should have been - without a doubt - a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.  Roger Clemens too.  But to save effort why it shouldn't even be a question, here's an excerpt from my 2012 column on PEDs & the HOF:
Sure, McGwire (and Bonds and Clemens and etc) used PED's.  But so did a huge chunk of the guys they was competing against (just like Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, and Whitey Ford before them).

We don't compare pitchers' ERAs in 2012 with those of the dead-ball era because stats fluctuate between eras.  But dominance among peers remains the best indicator of Hall-of-Fame worthiness and during the "steroid era," when PEDs were largely legal.  The playing fields were level.
Guys like Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Jeff Bagwell, and John Smoltz all have better shots this year than Bonds or Clemens because they're not considered "users."  But we have no idea who used PEDs - it was far more rampant than we'll ever be able to quantify.  So why pretend we have any idea?

In fact, that's what I wrote about last year when Glavine and Maddux were elected:
Held to today's standards, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Mike Schmidt, Hank Aaron, and Whitey Ford may all have been kept out of the Hall.  And if you don't think there is a long list of current and recently-retired stars who have breathed huge sighs of relief for not being outed as a "user," you're foolish.
Maddux and Glavine didn't exactly come across as anti-PED crusaders back in 1996.  In fact, I doubt there was a single player in the league during the 1990s who didn't know PED's were running rampant.  They all profited from the post-strike home run obsession.

On top of it all, Glavine was in a position to fix it.   As the Braves' long-time players' union rep, he was one of the leading voices in the MLBPA - the organization that fought off drug testing for so long.
Simply put, the Hall of Fame should be for the guys who dominated their peers, regardless of era.  By those metrics, Bonds and Clemens should be on every voter's ballot.

1 comment:

  1. The real victim here is Alex Rodriguez.

    When Barry Bonds completed the season in which he was age 34, he had 445 career home runs.
    When Alex Rodriguez completed the season in which we was age 34, he had 613 home runs - his last 'productive' season.

    So, if Alex had and would be able to continue to use steroids during the backend of his career, it is reasonable to extrapolate to one of two outcomes:
    1. Assume Alex hits the same proportion of his home runs after age 34 that Barry Bonds did (Barry is the STEROIDS GOLD STANDARD for back end career production) - then Alex would wind up with 71% more home runs after age 34 (762/445). 613 x 1.71 = 1,048.
    2. Let's assume the more conservative approach, where Alex simply hits the same number of home runs after age 34 that Barry did - 317. That would yield 613 + 317 = a mere 930 HRs for Alex.

    So, my conclusion is that Alex really got screwed by being detected and penalized during his career, as compared to Barry who skated through undetected or at least unpenalized. No wonder Alex has an attitude problem.

    Life ain't fair, even for AROID, who will have made over $400 million from the MLB by the time he is no longer paid after the 2017 season. My heart goes out to the poor fellow. I just wish I could have been one of his lawyers to give him quality advice during the last year or two.